Sun Pictures, the film production arm of Sun TV Network, may have taken over the production of the Rs.1.2 billion Rajnikanth-starrer Enthiran (Robot) from Ayngaran Films, but members of the Tamil film industry feel that it might find it difficult to earn back the large sum.
Randor Guy, film historian and critic, said that if the rumoured costs were true, despite Sun Network's considerable clout and financial backing, its return on investment with regard to Enthiran could be doubtful.
"Sun Pictures’ current situation arising out of the Enthiran deal can perhaps be summed up with a famous statement by Hollywood mogul Harry Cohn who called all those who made films at an irrecoverable cost as 'the world’s biggest idiots' or 'those who could buy every ticket in every cinema in every state' in order to get the movies termed hits,” Guy told IANS.
"Sun Pictures perhaps don't exactly fit Cohn's description as the 'biggest idiots'. However, thanks to film's virtually irrecoverable costs, the company somewhat answers to the comment’s latter part as they can arguably underwrite its return on investment from every cinema nationwide by flogging it through their television channels and by releasing it later in the same medium backed by commercials. To me, it more or less means the same thing," Guy added.
But Hansraj Saxena, Sun Pictures' chief operating officer, was upbeat and said Sun Network may venture even into global distribution of Tamil films.
"Though the release of Enthiran is a good one year away, we are looking at the possibilities of distributing the movie globally as we have the visibility and the reach," Saxena told IANS.
Directed by Shankar, the film featuring Aishwarya Rai in the female lead is scheduled to be dubbed in multiple languages including Hindi.
Details about the compensation paid to Ayngaran Films, owned by an expatriate Sri Lankan Tamil Karunamoorthy, which started the blockbuster's production earlier this year and the budgeting of the Enthiran, are yet to be confirmed.
"I would prefer not to talk about what happened between Ayngaran and director Shankar before we took up the production and cannot divulge the budgeting details. It would suffice to say that Enthiran will be biggest Indian blockbuster to date," Saxena said.
Top industry sources indicated that Ayngaran had spent over Rs.300 million on the edited length of 1200 feet of "Enthiran", which is a little over two songs and had been "adequately compensated".
Ayngaran-boss Karunamoorthy was not available for comment.
Sun Pictures' endeavour, however, is being welcomed by some.
"Everyone knows that all Indian films officially distributed abroad are rented as DVDs from day one and hence are their main piracy quotients locally and internationally. With a huge cinema and television reach, Sun Pictures can change the equations for the better," a major movie distributor wishing anonymity said.